I, like many of you, am an avid Amazon.com shopper. I would be willing to bet that I buy a few physical things from Amazon every month, and plenty of virtual goods, like music, books, etc. as well.
In mid-February, I actually ordered 4 different things in four different orders, on the same day. Normally, I just use my credit card. For whatever reason, this day I decided to use an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) from my ING Direct bank account #0002938475*.
As it turns out, I had a typo when I entered the bank account information. Nonetheless, Amazon allowed me to enter the information, make my four purchases, and receive merchandise two days later thanks to Travis Smith and his shared Amazon Prime subscription.
Ten days after my purchases has already arrived (and been given as gifts to my daughter, mind you), I received four letters in the mail from a company called TRS Recovery Services.
[Mind you, TRS stands for TeleCheck Recovery Services, which means the name of this organization is TeleCheck Recovery Services Recovery Services.]
Each of these letters indicated that my “electronic bank account payment [I] attempted as part of my recent order was not successful.” Each letter represented one of the 4 orders I had placed that day, and each one came with its own $25 returned check fee, totaling $100 for those of you unwilling to do the math.
I frantically called Amazon to determine what could have happened. They told me that TRS gets involved on faulty and fraudulent EFT issues, and that was probably what had happened, and that I should call them to resolve it. So I did. They explained that the bank account I had attempted to use for my purchases was closed, and that they were not able to get the funds for the orders I had submitted. I asked them for the account number in question, and that’s when we determined I had made a typo.
The woman on the phone told me that I have a right to dispute the fees, but that they are rarely waived, but that unless I could produce proof that I had paid for these items, she was going to need me to settle up on the phone immediately. Since I had checked my account, and knew that technically I had not paid for these items, I complied, and paid the balance of my items, less the $100 in service fees. I told her I would like to dispute those, as I received no warning from Amazon that there was a problem.
In order to dispute these charges, I have two options: fax or mail a letter to a physical address with my reference numbers and a “personal statement.”
It gets even better. While I was on the phone with TRS, but after I had given them my credit card information, I received an email from Amazon stating:
“At this time, we have requested that TRS Recovery Services cease any further collection action for the previous order(s) placed using your bank account.”
I’ve tried the dance of customer service with both Amazon and TRS, to no avail.
I faxed the letter this morning. I will keep you posted.
- Amazon took my order with a typo, processed the order, and shipped me my items without a single warning or problem. Shouldn’t I, as the consumer, be warned about a typo before I’m expected to pay a $25 service fee?
- In 2012, we still have companies that only accept fax or snail mail? This smells of scam every time I encounter it. Consumer Protection should specifically eliminate business practices that explicitly make it harder for the consumer.
- The title of this article is “The One Where I Stopped Using Amazon.” That’s a bold-faced lie meant to draw you into the story. If it would have fit, I probably should have titled it “The One Where I Stopped Using EFTs With Amazon.” My apologies for being misleading. They have the best prices on nearly everything. I have no intention of quitting Amazon for good. Does that make me a bad person? Would you?
- How would you have handled this situation?
* Account number has been changed to protect the innocent.